When looking for a career position, what would you place as most important? Salary? Title? Growth potential? Obviously, all of these things are important, but these days, job candidates are seeking out companies that not only have mission statements, but also companies that live out their mission statements.
It's easy enough to make up a "Kumbaya-sounding" mission statement, but it's something totally different to live it out every single day. When advertising open positions within your business, are you playing along and telling job candidates what they want to hear, or are you actually playing out your mission statement in real time with clients and employees?
The Purpose of a Mission Statement
At its core, a mission statement is set to define your brand for workers, both experienced and new. During the hiring process, you'll want to make sure that each candidate not only understands your business mission statement, but also that he or she matches culturally with it. For example, if your mission statement includes valuing community service, you'll want to look for job candidates who have demonstrated a dedication to helping others. This does not mean disqualifying job candidates who have not actively engaged in community service, but it does mean barring job candidates if they claim no interest in serving others.
Is Your Company's Mission Statement Speaking to Job Candidates?
When crafting a mission statement, you need to be totally honest. What, in actuality, is the company's mission? True candidates for open positions need to see this and understand it in order to determine if you are the right fit for them. Otherwise, you're wasting valuable interviewing the wrong people, and you're wasting their time as well. If you're simply offering platitudes to the community and saying what you think people want to hear, it's likely that you'll bring in candidates that are just as phony.
Wait ... But How Honest?
Now, the issue of attracting candidates using a mission statement can be a bit tricky when it comes to honesty. Everyone knows that the purpose of starting a business is to generate revenue for the owner or owners of a business, so should you include that in your mission statement? Is that being a little too honest? The truth is that it depends. It's fine to say, as a part of your mission statement, that one of your mission statement planks is to generate revenue for stakeholders, but it may not be a good idea to make this the sole focus of your mission statement. Doing so may turn away qualified candidates who would then see your company as being driven by nothing more than money.
Also, think about your wording. The way something is phrased can have a large impact on the outcome. If you're in doubt, work with a professional copy and content writing specialist, and also have a variety of different people in different roles read through your mission statement. This will give you multiple opinions, allowing you to craft the right message, bringing in the right candidates.
What are good tactics for conveying your company's mission or purpose to applicants?
Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include recruiting and career counseling.